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When & How to Transplant Blueberry Bushes?

By Heidi Almond ; Updated September 21, 2017

Sweet blueberries are a delicious addition to any landscape. The bushes produce pretty white or pink flowers in the spring, followed by luscious fruit in the summer or fall. Blueberries can be made into jams, jellies, pies and more. They can also be frozen or dried. Because of their shallow root system, blueberry bushes are relatively easy to transplant. Choose a location for your blueberries that gets plenty of sun and has the proper soil pH.

Choose a new location for your blueberry bushes. Blueberries perform best in full sun, although they can also tolerate partial shade. Test the existing soil before planting. Blueberries require acidic soil (around 4.8 is ideal). You can amend your soil with wettable sulfur, peat moss or pine sawdust.

Transplant your blueberry bushes when they are dormant, usually either late in the fall or early in the spring. You may also transplant blueberries in the winter if the ground is workable and free of snow.

Use a small garden fork, or your fingers, to scratch the surface of the soil around your blueberries to find the perimeter of the roots. Blueberry roots extend around the plant in a flat circle near the surface of the soil.

Insert your shovel into the soil just past the edge of the blueberry's root system. Continue working around the plant until you can wiggle it free from the earth.

Gently lift up the blueberry bush. If it is too large to carry by hand, deposit it in a bucket or wheelbarrow so that you don't damage the roots.

Dig a similar-sized hole in your blueberry bush's new location. Do not bury the plant any deeper than it was originally growing.

Put your blueberry bush's root ball in the hole, replacing any soil as needed.

Cover the earth around the blueberry with mulch and then water well. Using peat moss, bark or pine needles as a mulch will help lower the pH of the soil, but you may also use straw or hay if your soil is naturally acidic.

If you cannot plant your blueberry bush right away, place the root ball in a plastic bag and store the bush in a dark location where it is protected from freezing. Try to re-plant your blueberry as soon as possible.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Soil amendments
  • Garden fork
  • Shovel
  • Bucket or wheelbarrow
  • Mulch
  • Plastic bag

Tip

  • Blueberries should not be fertilized when they are dormant, so do not add compost or manure to the soil when you are transplanting blueberry bushes. Wait until spring when your blueberries have formed leaves before you fertilize.

About the Author

 

Heidi Almond worked in the natural foods industry for more than seven years before becoming a full-time freelancer in 2010. She has been published in "Mother Earth News," "Legacy" magazine and in several local publications in Duluth, Minn. In 2002 Almond graduated cum laude from an environmental liberal arts college with a concentration in writing.